Press Release – KiwiRail
KiwiRail accepts the Transport Accident Investigation Commission findings  on its investigation into the Kaiwharawhara derailment on 20 May this year when a spring park brake broke free from the leading bogie of the last vehicle on the train.
“The report identifies that the failure of the mechanical depot to fit two split pins to the hangers of the spring park brake when it was replaced on that train in early March appears to be the root cause of the SPB breaking free and the train’s subsequent derailment,” says KiwiRail Chief Executive Jim Quinn.
“In a safety critical environment like this, such an oversight is of significant concern.
“We can confirm that TAIC’s preliminary view aligns with our own investigation and a thorough review of depot practises has been undertaken.
“The depot staff responsible for repairing the Ganz fleet are trades qualified and many have years of rail maintenance experience. In this instance we are of the view developing a further improved checking system will help catch any errors that may occur,” says Mr Quinn.
“In the Wellington Depot, all of the recommendations made by TAIC have already been implemented. Heavy component change check sheets have been introduced to take all practicable steps to ensure this kind of incident does not occur again.
“Sign off sheets are required to be completed for each component changed after any of these jobs are finished, and a post repair inspection process has also been introduced for safety critical items.
“The Wellington depot has an excellent record in maintenance safety and serious incidents on the network due to mechanical depot failures are very rare. Changes in ownership have made it difficult to find continuous safety records, but current records show this to be the only incident in the last 40 years.”
In addition to investigating the root cause of the derailment, KiwiRail have also examined activities that occurred after the derailment in dealing with customers and service recovery. There were a number of things that went well on the day, as well as areas where improvements could be made.
“We are committed to ensuring we continue to monitor and identify where we can improve safety conditions, resources and training,” Mr Quinn says.